Suggestions for Taking a High-Stakes IT Exam #Certification #Exam #Preparation
Posted by Rubel Khan on November 11, 2011
Part I: Exam Prep By Janet Pinkerton
1) Know your exam. Carefully read the exam description details to build your exam prep strategy. What are exam objectives or subjects covered? What question formats will be used: multiple-choice, simulated scenarios, essays or fill in the blank? How many questions will be in each exam section? How much time is given to complete the exam? How will the exam be graded?
2) Ask yourself: What kind of learner am I? How much do I know? Answering these questions can help you decide what tools to use to prepare for the exam. Test prep options include assessment software, instructor-led training, eLearning, books for classroom use and self-study, and computer-based materials.
3) Dedicate Time to Prepare. Give yourself a matter of weeks, not days, for preparation. Create and commit to a realistic schedule of study time blocks that are less likely to be disrupted by work or life events. Aim for balance with time management. If you neglect your personal or work life, you may add unwanted stress that will make it more difficult to study effectively.
4) Study in short blocks of time. Experts say the maximum human attention span is about 45 minutes and the average is about 20 to 30 minutes. Be good to yourself and take long breaks between study times.
5) Use multiple study/preparation resources, especially if you are a beginner. No single exam preparation resource is the best at covering every exam subject. Each has its strengths and weaknesses—both in approach and subject coverage. Using multiple preparation resources will help ensure that you cover all the subjects contained in a high-stakes exam.
6) Use high-quality preparation resources. For CompTIA certification exams, study with books and study guides reviewed by industry experts and approved by CompTIA through the CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) program. These materials are considered the best resource for self-study for an exam. Use the Search form here to find CAQC Study Materials. Be careful when purchasing study guides from second-hand sellers (on eBay or Craigslist, for example); make sure the materials directly apply to the exam you plan to take.
7) Drill, Baby, Drill! Drill with sample questions and exams to identify problem areas where more study is needed and reinforce the information you already understand. Sample questions for CompTIA exams can be obtained here. You can also purchase and practice questions online with authorized providers of certification practice tests. Beware of websites offering “exact copies” of real exam questions; experts say these typically provide no educational value and are often incorrect.
8) Time yourself. Timed exam practice help you get used to taking exams under time pressure.
9) Get Hands-on! Give yourself plenty of hands-on IT experience to reinforce study prep and also to prepare for long-term career success. Hands-on experience can range from working on projects in a home or school lab to shadowing experienced computer or network IT “gurus.”
10) Be Proactive and Think Positive. Exam anxiety is common, but careful preparation through study, drills and hands-on experience can dissolve the fears involved with high-stakes testing. If you are anxious about the exam environment itself, get information from your testing center about what to expect, what’s allowed, what’s prohibited in the testing room. Some testing centers even offer a “test drive” —a chance to experience the test center and go through all the testing procedures before the actual exam.
Source: CompTIA Blog